Federal Agency Finds Plenty of Fault With Oversight of Higher Education

Three days before Christmas, the Government Accountability Office put big lumps of coal in the stockings of accreditors and the U.S. Department of Education.

The federal office released a report criticizing accrediting agencies’ efforts to oversee academic quality at colleges, and faulting the Education Department for not increasing its own scrutiny of colleges that are under accreditors’ sanctions.

Colleges must be accredited by a federally recognized accreditor in order to receive federal stud…


Buyout at U. of Missouri Flagship Attracts 110 Faculty Members

A buyout offer by the University of Missouri at Columbia has been accepted by 110 faculty members, who will retire between December 31 and August 31, the Columbia Missourian reports.

The payouts would cost about $17.7-million but would save a similar amount in budgeted salaries and benefits, Christian Basi, a university spokesman, told the newspaper.

The departing professors represent about 42 percent of those who were eligible for the offer, which was made in September.

The buyout offer—a one…


Florida State U. Quarterback Is Cleared in Sexual-Assault Case

Jameis Winston, the star quarterback of the Florida State University football team, has been cleared of accusations that he violated the student code of conduct in a case involving an alleged sexual assault.

Major B. Harding, a former chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court, said on Sunday that the evidence was “insufficient to satisfy the burden of proof.” The jurist held a two-day hearing on the case this month. Possible penalties against Mr. Winston ranged from reprimand to expulsion.

The …


Cutoff of Financial Aid Is Possible at Pima Community College

A federal audit, citing poor record keeping by Pima Community College, has put the Arizona institution at risk of losing its ability to distribute financial aid.

In a preliminary report, the Department of Education found that the college, which enrolls about 33,000 students, lacks a reliable way to keep track of the attendance or even enrollment status of aid recipients, reports the Arizona Daily Star.

As a result, the department could deny the college access to further federal financial aid and…


Labor Board Hands Pacific Lutheran U. Adjuncts a Win in Bid to Unionize

The National Labor Relations Board has handed contingent faculty members at Pacific Lutheran University a major win in their bid to form a labor union, rejecting the university’s assertion that, as a religious institution, it is exempt from the NLRB’s jurisdiction.

The board’s decision is also significant because it refines the NLRB’s standard that is used to determine whether certain faculty members can be considered managerial employees and therefore denied union representation.

That question …


Observers Greet Education Dept.’s Ratings Plan With Heavy Skepticism

For the past 16 months, the Obama administration’s plan to rate colleges has been one of the most talked-about issues in higher education. On Friday morning the Education Department’s draft plan arrived with a whimper, as news outlets and observers quickly remarked that the so-called framework was less a rough draft than a bare-bones outline of what an eventual system might feature.

It is worth noting right off the bat that many observers now believe, if they didn’t before the draft was released…


Arizona State U. Will Take Over Thunderbird Business School

Arizona State University has reached a deal to take over the Thunderbird School of Global Management, ending the business school’s quest to shore up its finances by attracting a buyer, The Wall Street Journal reports. Arizona State will pay off roughly $22-million of Thunderbird’s debts, and the business school will keep most of its faculty and staff.

Thunderbird reached a deal last year to be taken over by the for-profit company Laureate Education Inc., but alumni protested and the school’s acc…


Career Education Corp. Will Sell 16 Campuses

The Career Education Corporation will sell off its 16 culinary-arts campuses, though the for-profit educator has not identified a buyer, according to a corporate filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Career Education said the decision had been made after “an ongoing portfolio review undertaken to evaluate the strategic direction of the company.” It added that it expects to sell the campuses within 12 months but could not estimate how much it would cost to find a buyer.

“We are…


Judge Will Resign From Ohio State’s Board After Ethics Inquiry

A federal judge has agreed to resign as a member of Ohio State University’s Board of Trustees after an ethics commission found that he violated state rules by serving as a trustee and an adjunct professor at the university’s law school. Judge Algenon L. Marbley’s resignation is part of a settlement reached with the Ohio Ethics Commission.

The group said it had agreed to the settlement because it did not find that Judge Marbley had used his position to gain disproportionate compensation as a law professor. The commission’s inquiry began after Ohio State lawyers self-reported the judge’s position as a trustee and a paid professor.

In a statement, Marbley wrote that he has been “diligent in disclosing all information about my professional roles” at Ohio State, but that he is resigning “as a means of resolving any possible questions and laying this matter to rest.”

“Whether I agree with the commission’s final direction is not relevant,” he added. “I respect their authority, and I strive to assure that my conduct is viewed at all times as ethical and appropriate. That is why I act now to resolve this matter fully.”

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Rick Perry Declines to Have Building at Texas A&M Renamed for Him

Academic-building names don’t get any less controversial than Texas A&M University’s Academic Building, and that’s not going to change anytime soon.

Gov. Rick Perry of Texas has declined to have the 100-year-old building renamed for him, The Texas Tribune reports, a measure the university system’s Board of Regents was scheduled to approve on Thursday. But the regents canceled the meeting after Mr. Perry said he wouldn’t accept the honor.

“I want the Academic Building to be called the Academic Bu…